January 5th, 2020




Rose and Bay Awards

The Rose and Bay Award was launched by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith (Elizabeth Barrette) in January 2009, and quickly gained additional volunteers. This award focuses on a growing business model known as "crowdfunding" or "cyberfunded creativity," which directly connects creative people and patrons of the arts online. This award recognizes exemplary projects and enthusiastic patrons. It currently features six categories: Art, Fiction, Poetry, Webcomic, Other Project, and Patron.

The award period for eligible activities spans January 1-December 31, 2019.
The nomination period spans January 1-January 31, 2020.
The voting period spans February 1-February 29, 2020.

These are the handlers for the 2020 award season:

Art: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate art! Vote for art!
Fiction: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate fiction! Vote for fiction!
Poetry: [personal profile] readera Nominate poetry! Vote for poetry!
Webcomic: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate webcomics! Vote for webcomics!
Other Project: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate other projects! Vote for other projects!
Patron: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth Nominate patrons! Vote for patrons!
Please think about your favorite crowdfunded projects and patrons from 2019.  Especially if you are a creator, nominate some of your patrons, and boost the signal so your fans will know to nominate your project.

Automation and the Workforce

This article talks about how to avoid negative impacts from automation in the workforce.  Bluntly put, everything that gets automated costs jobs, and that will bite you in the ass more often than not.  If it's a filthy dangerous job that nobody wants to do, it's probably an improvement, but what are you going to do with the poor sod who used to get paid to do it?  Some ways to discourage the problems:

* If you are the decider, don't automate unless it is a big improvement and you can shift those workers to another job they like.

* If you are shopping and you see an automated version vs. a person, choose the person.  Those self checkout lanes at the supermarket?  Every one of those represents an unemployed worker, not to mention all the underemployed workers whose food stamps you are paying for because their cheapass boss won't pay them enough to live on.

* If you are an inventor, subtly design processes so they are not readily compatible with automation but require human workers to perform.

* When a person is replaced by a machine, complain to the manager.  They less likely to do this if people complain.

* Watch for safety.  Automated systems are often less safe than human monitoring, unless they can operate faster than human reflexes (e.g. emergency shutoff switches).  However, it's a great way to get people out of horrid situations.  Remember that other people's poor decisions can put YOU at risk, with things like self-driving cars (which already killed one person due to program error and backup driver inattention).

* Watch the ongoing butchery of privacy and its two extreme results: people who turn their boundaries into Fort Knox and people who don't even know what boundaries are because they've never been permitted to have any.  Automation and privacy are almost mutually exclusive.  At least you can argue with a person and have some  chance of winning.

* Watch for other serious drawbacks.  A recorded phone message is much less effective at reminding people of appointments than a live person, does not support a household, and cannot tell if the person on the other end sounds like shit and hey maybe should be checked on to make sure they don't drop dead.


Learning a Foreign Language

 ... makes you smarter and more cosmopolitan.  Duh.

Now let me be blunt.  America does not want anyone to speak anything other than English and does everything it can to stamp out other languages.  It works like this.  Draconian policies attack people who speak other languages, such as Native Americans and immigrants.  Almost all foreign language classes in schools are designed to fail.  Why?  America doesn't introduce them until after the window starts to close.  That happens at the onset of puberty and most schools don't offer a foreign language until high school.  If they REALLY wanted people to learn those languages, they would introduce them in preschool or kindergarten like all the countries with actual foreign language programs that produce actual speakers of multiple languages.

If you have kids and you want them to learn a foreign language, introduce it immediately and give them lots of immersion experience.  Look for a bilingual babysitter, learn a heritage language as a family, join a language nest, choose an immersion preschool, move to a civilized nation, etc.  Because if you wait for the public school to do it, the chance of success approaches nil.  The only people who are good at learning foreign languages after childhood are folks with high linguistic intelligence and/or those whose window doesn't close normally.